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(8/16/2010) In the middle of each week's effort to put Bali Update together to be sent each Monday, we get the occasional email that brings a smile to our face . . .
• Susi Johnston, a leading Bali travel figure in her own right, wrote:
"You do great work. The Update is balanced and well edited, with reliable local information which is very important to have distributed in English. The Update is an invaluable bridge between local and foreign populations. How? By diligently monitoring the local media in Indonesian, as well as other information sources, and then compiling succinct, timely, intelligent (and witty) digests. I read the local Indonesian language papers myself, and have been impressed by how well you select and transmit the most essential and relevant information from the local news in the Update. Furthermore, the Update's reliable and targeted distribution - - and the "reach" it has to anyone and everyone with a "stake" or an interest in Bali - - are both noteworthy, and of great benefit to many people. "
"The more that foreign visitors and residents understand what is actually taking place in Bali, the better we will all be able to meet the challenges that Bali faces, together in concert. It is impossible to overcome the problems we face without doing it together. You provide a vital service to foster real and practical understanding. Bravo!"
• Claudia Johnson from Austria :
"Hello from Austria. Thanks for keeping us updated on what's going on in Bali. I travel regularly to Bali every year (since about 25 years!) - and so it's great to be updated!!!!"
Our coverage on calls for a moratorium on new hotels in Bali [Call to Stop New Hotel Projects in Bali ] . . .
• E. Valentine had this to say :
"I agree 100% on the freeze on Bali hotels. The word the Balinese people should keep in mind ALWAYS is 'sustainability'. I just returned from Ubud on 07 Aug and it is already getting very 'touristy'. My first visit to Kuta was in 1986......I did not go to Kuta this time and I do not want to be there. (I have been to Bali 5 Times) and I can see how it has changed (for the worse). Does Bali REALLY need more rooms? Are the rooms fully occupied throughout the year? May I humbly suggest that more 'homestays' - like in Ubud be encouraged? Just keep it cleaner.....Please remember that some tourists are 'five star' tourists (not all). Learn from the European $$$$ crisis 2009 which affected Maldives negatively. Homestays also promote community tourism which helps the rural folks more."
[Record Revenues in Bali Visa Fees ] tracking the record number of visitors and resulting visa fees brought two emails . . .
• Nicholas from Canada :
"Incorporate the visa on arrival fees into the price of the airline ticket. This will put an end to long line-ups and maybe make it more difficult for corrupt officials to line their pockets."
• Paul M. said :
"Perhaps some of these revenues could be used to upgrade the airport facilities?"
[The Best of 'Friends'] our article revealing actress Jennifer Aniston's desire to visit Bali . . .
• Christine King in Western Australia suggested :
"She can only visit if she brings Brad!"
[Our Man in Bangkok] – the interview with the General Manager of the Dusit Thani hotel in Bangkok. . .
• Richard McCandles succinctly stated :
"great article ....."
[Keeping Bali Safe, One Arrest at a Time] detailing the brutal murder by gangs in Kuta of a worker at the Red Room Bar . . .
• Tom wrote in:
"When I first started coming to Bali about 6 years ago it was not an issue to go for a walk around the streets of Legian. I felt safe, would chat to locals who were doing their thing, it was a wonderful moment and I never felt threatened. But now, it's a different story and no way will I go out or be out after 10.pm and this is very sad and a bad reflection of the state of Bali now. While I can appreciate the need for making visitors trips a happy occasion, I also feel that 24/7 bars are not doing Bali's image any good. It has been proved that these 24/7 bars in the western world have contributed much to increased violence which makes me ask the question.....does Bali really need this sort of western influence? I think not. If these westerners cannot accept the Balinese way, then they should go to Ibiza...but here in Bali we like to respect the religious and cultural side of Bali. . . Bali is one of the most beautiful islands in the world and for me any tourist who comes here should respect the island's culture and treat the Balinese with the respect they deserve."
The report on confirmed pollution of 6 popular Bali beaches [Swimmer's Itch ] . . .
• Tom wrote:
"I cannot believe that this is still such a big issue. It has been an issue in my short 6 years on Bali and yet it continues. If it were to happen in the western world the hotels would be closed down until their sanitary problems were fixed so why does it take sooooo long in Bali?
A report on conflict between hotel developers on Sanur Beach and traditional beach traders [Traders Make a Beachhead on Bali's Sanur Beach] . . .
• Murray Leggat emailed:
"My god, does Bali really need another hotel? Nearly every week we see stories about Bali losing its culture, losing farming land, the take over of big business, the lack of water, the taking over of land, electrical and pollution problems, and the list goes on. For me, the worry is the threat to the culture of the Balinese people, the very thing that makes Bali the very special place. What are the local authorities doing to fix these problems? Building more hotels? I've read in the past there are more hotel rooms than there are tourists. Let's just slow down a bit and let Bali be the beautiful island that it is. Do we really want Bali to become a concrete jungle? I think not.
• And a final comments from a reader known only as "Tom"
This is disturbing news indeed. Since when have developers adhered to beach-front restrictions? The traders have been there for years and now they have been asked to move to make way for what one can only assume will be an eyesore just like the ones in Kuta and Legian. I am interested to know what the local government thinks of this rape of Sanur? If they had any kind of appreciation for Sanur the building will not be built and should not."
An editorial on the defacement of Bali's southern peninsula by C151 Dreamland and Anantara Uluwatu [Defacing Bali ] . . .
• Caused John Darendra to contribute:
"Like your news service. And like many other groups and individuals, I deplore this environmental vandalism and degradation of Bali's natural beauty and culture. Thank you for bringing this to the attention of people both inside and outside of Bali."
Governor Pastika's pledge to make Bali green by 2013 [Pastika: Serious About Making Bali Green ] . . .
• Prompted these thoughtful comments addressed to the governor from Bali tourism legend Andre Pury:
"Dear Mr. Governor . . .I have been coming to Bali since 1972 and have always admired Bali's beautiful landscape, its rich rice fields, its fantastic trees and greenery.
Your new goal to make 'Bali Green' is definitely an extremely positive step in the right direction.
In this regard however, we must express our shock and disbelief in reading news about some new ugly 'over-passes' to be built at the Kuta intersection, simply because 'underpasses' are more costly."
"It would be a grave mistake to proceed with overpasses because they will dramatically change the perception of Bali forever. They are unsightly, they are DEFINITELY NOT GREEN, and they will look horrible."
"Underpasses for car traffic have been built all over the world successfully, in the most difficult conditions. Think of the tunnel under the sea between France and England. Or the tunnel between Kowloon and Hongkong. Or the tunnel that runs below the Read Sea in Egypt."
"NO NO NO, overpasses must not be built in Bali. They must be banned. If you need more money because it is an expense issue, we urge you and the Indonesian Government to Lobby the E.U. and other world bodies. Money to preserve the beauty of Bali can be found. It's just a matter of working at the problem."
[Sukawati Art Market to be Renovated] detailing plans by the Bupati of Gianyar to modernize the popular art market . . .
• Colin Gatenby in Ubud wrote:
"As a resident of Ubud frequently traveling south I pray the re-development of Sukawati Art Market bears in mind the crucial need for a permanent, well planned and spacious car park for the dozens of tourist buses that dictate all traffic flow around Sukawati."
"It would surely be wiser to re-locate the market to an area nearby where parking for up to 25 buses could be made."
"Then a drive from Ubud to Sanur would no longer be the nightmare it can be some days."
• Colin Anderson wrote:
"Let us hope that a car and coach park are also built!
Our informative interview on property ownership in Bali with Notary Rainy Hendriany [Regulation of Property Ownership by Foreigners] . . .
• Frank Perry of Australia wrote:
"Thank you Jack for the frank and extremely informative interview with Rainy Hendriany on property ownership in Indonesia. I think that many people are being misinformed on the reality/implications of attempting to own property in Bali."